Friday, October 22, 2010

Food, glorious food

I love food. I love having people at my house. I love having people bring food to my house. I love spending a good four hours eating my weight in soup and chatting with friends. What am I talking about? My second (now) annual Soup Night!

First, I would like to issue an open letter of apology to clam chowder. Up until last night, I couldn't stomach the stuff. I don't know if I had a bad experience with it, or just that it looks like barf, but I have never liked it. So when I sent out this year's invitation I specified, just like last year, NO CLAM CHOWDER. My fabulously sassy friend Heidi RSVP'd with her soup choice: clam chowder. I had numerous questions as to whether she was joking. Or had vision problems. I suspected that Heidi, a busy mother of four, skimmed the invite, clicked "Yes!" and listed her soup. I was right. So when she walked in with this steaming batch of my nemesis, we all had a good laugh. But I'm a good sport! I'll taste it, I said. Truth be told, I went for that one first so I could spend the rest of the night eating other things to rid my tastebuds of it.

But oh heavens. This stuff was good. Really good. Like, "thanks for the lip balm," really good. But I had to go easy on it since I still had 17 other soups to try. And I'm nothing if not dedicated to the art of eating. So try them all I did. From baked potato to butternut, from zuppa toscana to broccoli cheese, from white chili to minestrone, and just about every other kind in between, I tried them ALL. If I had to pick, I think I'd have to say my favorite was the "Soup bone Soup" (with the Summer Chicken and Corn Chowder a close second). The lovely Angie has often talked about how it is her comfort food and I think it might be mine, now, too. It doesn't sound like much, but it had to be the most flavorful broth and delicious soup. I eagerly await the recipe, along with all the others, that are now trickling in.

I had every intention of taking pictures of the impressive spread (imagine 18 crockpots on my kitchen table and counters, all steaming away and smelling divine), but somehow managed to not even think of my camera once the whole evening. I might have only been thinking about food. Look, it takes some serious strategy to both attempt and complete eating that many soups!

My contribution to the night? Nutella Soup. Someone brought it last year and it was just about the most delicious thing I'd ever tasted. So this year I hunted around until I found what I thought was probably the recipe. And while I was at it, why not make mini shortbread cookies to go with it? The name was "melt-in-your-mouth" shortbread and it completely, deliciously, gloriously lived up to its name. The soup said it served 6, so I thought I should double it. I'm not opposed to leftovers, but it made a LOT of deliciousness. So here you go. Nutella Soup with Shortbread cookies:

4 cups light cream (I used half-and-half and heavy cream, because that's what I had)
6 ounces sweet chocolate (I used 1 part sweet, 2 parts semi-sweet, because that's what I do)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup Nutella
4 egg yolks

Combine cream, chocolate, sugar and Nutella in saucepan over medium heat, stirring until chocolate and Nutella have melted.

Thoroughly beat egg yolks. Stir in 1/2 cup of chocolate soup mixture into egg yolks, then whisk egg yolk mixture into soup. Simmer, stirring for 5 minutes.

Serve hot or cold, garnished with whipped cream and nuts, if desired. Or shortbread cookies (courtesy of

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Whip butter with an electric mixer until fluffy. Stir in the confectioners' sugar, cornstarch, and flour. Beat on low for one minute, then on high for 3 to 4 minutes. Drop cookies by spoonfuls (or small cookie scoop) 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Watch that the edges don't brown too much. Cool on wire racks.

(I made mine a bit smaller, so I got about twice as many, and only baked for 10 minutes. Be careful to let them cool a while on the pan, otherwise they mush easily.)

Do yourself a favor: invite 30 of your closest friends over for soup. They have to rsvp with the kind they're bringing - no doubles! Provide lots of bowls and a good number of spoons. And don't prohibit clam chowder. At least not if you've invited Heidi.


Alice said...

I love clam a bread bowl at the pier. Oh something we've got to do before the baby comes. Um...dangit...why did you have to post the nutella soup? ARGH! Something else I need to make before the baby comes.

Tennille said...

I want to make nutella soup and eat all of it myself.

Lisa said...

Ummm, I need Nutella soup. NOW.

TheKunks said...

Yummy! What a good idea. Don't think I could fit 30 ppl in my house but could try for a smaller group. Thanks for the recipe...drooling already!